My plan for the day was to drive north from Breckenridge on the Million Dollar Highway up to Estes Park, go through Rocky Mountain National Park from east to west one last time, attend the production of “Newsies” at the Repertory Theatre in Grand Lake outside the west entrance to the Park and return to Breckenridge in the wee hours of the morning. Well, everything was going along swimmingly until mid-day when I created a but of a dilemma for myself while trying to pull off the highway for a photo op.
Go grab a drink, I feel another amusing JohnBoy story coming on…..
As I approached Estes Park on Route 7 I got a quick glimpse of the town in the valley before me. I thought, hmmmm, that would make a great picture, and started looking for a safe place to pull off the road. The first two pullouts already had vehicles parked in them. The third was empty so I slowed down and signaled to the two vehicles behind me that I intended to pull off the road.
Before actually pulling off I noticed that there was a considerable drop off between the road surface and the parking area, which was mostly dirt. Rather than bottom out the chassis of the car I drove to the end of the pullout where the drop off wasn’t as steep. I could only get 2 wheels off the pavement but that at least gave the cars behind me a chance to pull around. I put the car in reverse and proceeded to back up into the pullout area.
Next thing I know the front of the car went up, then went down and I heard the distinctive sound of metal on rock. I was stuck. Fortunately I was completely off the highway, and I was also fortunate to be in a spot where I could use my cell phone. After assessing the situation and making one brief attempt to extricate myself, I called AAA.
As you can see, many other folks have bottomed out exiting the highway.
This was the best way I could think of to demonstrate how steep the drop off was. That is a 16 oz. water bottle.
I put the rock to the left behind the tire to try and get traction backing up. It didn’t help.
The car was at an elevation of 8,881 feet. The bottom of my right front tire was at 8,880.
The source of the problem.
Well, long story short, it took AAA 3 HOURS to get there, even though the towing company was only 6 miles away (and it was only 7 miles to Estes Park). Apparently Bob’s Towing is the only company they use in Estes Park. I became increasingly frustrated at the beautiful day slipping away. When the tow truck finally got there it took all of 4 minutes to hook up to my car and pull it backwards off the rock.
I had called my nephew while all this was going on and alerted him that I may not make it to the show. When I determined that there was no damage to the car (other than a piece of plastic dislodged underneath the engine, merely cosmetic) I drove in to Estes Park, filled the tank with gas and returned to Breckenridge.